Tech firms will not be able to make unfettered claims over their carbon neutrality for too much longer.
Separating fact from fiction behind organisations’ claims of being carbon neutral will be the focus of new research, which has just received funding of $824,000 over the next three years.
Professor Markus Milne from the University of Canterbury has been awarded a Marsden Fund grant from the Royal Society of New Zealand, to examine the substance behind claims of carbon neutrality.
Milne aims to determine if becoming carbon neutral is actually achievable or just an example of political correctness. He will investigate carbon neutrality claims, policies and practices through a series of case studies of organisations that are pursuing this goal.
According to Milne, credible carbon neutrality programmes require serious attention to emissions reduction prior to offsetting. His research will determine whether offsetting and carbon neutrality simply justify and excuse ‘business-as-usual’ in organisations, rather than substantial emission cuts.
He will also examine how organisations will need to think differently to achieve carbon neutrality.
Milne's project in one of 90 that have been given the go-ahead by the Marsden Fund, which has announced its largest investment ever of $54 million in a wide range of leading-edge research projects.
The funding aims to advance New Zealand research excellence in the sciences, engineering, maths and information sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Twenty five of the projects funded are Marsden Fast-Starts that are designed to support outstanding researchers early in their careers.
The Marsden Fund was established by the Government in 1994 and takes its name from the founding secretary of the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, Sir Ernest Marsden.